"It's a big day for me," said Swallow, the food pantry's executive director on Saturday. "This is the end of a long, long road."
The community effort goes far beyond moving the food though.
Swallow said the new facility cost only $330,000, because of the contribution of materials and time from contractors and the community at large. "It came in $1 here, $5,000 there, $20,000 from somewhere else."
For example, Swallow said the heating and air conditioning bill was $27,500, but the pantry got a bill for $12,400. The rest was donated. And when Swallow asked for a bid on gutters for the building, the contractor asked him, "Why do you want to pay for that?"
Swallow said that in instance after instance, people were stepping up to donate material, time and money to the food pantry. "This community really steps up," Swallow said. "I believe when given the opportunity, people want to do the right thing."
That means the board of the pantry had to finance only $155,000 of the cost and $55,000 of that has already been paid. Swallow figures that by the end of March they will be able to pay another $50,000 of the debt
The idea of feeding the hungry has been integral to the mission of BCC.
It began in the early 1950s, under then pastor Rev. Gene Haynes. At that time, the food bank consisted of several sacks of food kept in the minister's closet.
As the community grew, the need for the pantry also grew, and the pantry was moved from one area of the church to another. Just prior to being moved, the pantry had taken up all of the church gym, the stage, and several adjoining rooms. After a large food drive, huge boxes of food would line the hallways.
Today, the pantry serves about 800 families monthly, just a tad shy of the numbers served by the Family Connection Center's Food Bank in Layton, Swallow said
For more than a year, volunteers and contractors have been working on the new pantry, which is now a totally separate organization from the church, with its own 501-3C charter, board of directors and the ability to raise its own funds.
Unlike most food pantries, the Bountiful Community Food Pantry has operated exclusively with volunteer help.
Swallow tells the story that when the board applied for a grant through the Eccles Foundation, they couldn't believe the pantry has no paid help -- not even Swallow. "They kept asking me questions like, 'don't you even drive a car provided by the pantry?'" Swallow said. The foundation eventually awarded the pantry $50,000.